Sunday, February 28, 2010

Al Gore: Hoist On His Own Canard

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Al Gore's fear-mongering book and video, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, represent an undeniable triumph for K-12, academe, Hollywood, TV, the press and liberal lemmings worldwide. And no mean achievement in the entrepreneurial spirit of, say, Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi and John Law. (1)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yes, There Is a Double Standard. Stop Whining About It!

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There are many traits of traditional conservatism that I like. Independence, individualism, positive attitude, willingness to work, courage, self-sufficiency and disposition to charitable acts. It appears, however, that the general feminizing of Western Society has not found conservatives immune.

Among the spokesmen for the right -- from best to least -- I cannot name one who has not succumbed to whining complaint about that leftist hypocrisy known as the double standard. "How", they ask rhetorically "would the media and liberal politicians have responded if a conservative had said (or done) that?"

If the question were not rhetorical, and if it had been asked of me, I would reply to Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham, or to Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter, "Man-up for God's sake! Either do something about it or accept it for what it is. But stop your whining!"

In fact, there are measures that can be taken. Unfortunately for conservatives they mostly require collective action, which, outside the Tea Party movement, are traditionally anathema to the right. Fortunately for conservatives, on the other hand, the aggregate of individual sentiment may favor the right.

The collective actions I had in mind were demonstrations and boycotts; Hollywood, the printed and visual media and academe. If well-orchestrated, these initiatives might work to good effect, but what organized conservatives seem incapable of, middle-America seems already to be doing without leadership. When a CNN broadcast attracts fewer than 1M viewers in prime-time, when the NYT, the LAT and the SF Chronicle (not to mention many other liberal outlets nationwide) are hemorrhaging readership, advertising and (naturally) profits the message being sent is palpable.

Hollywood and academe are other matters. In the former case two things: the decline of liberal TV and press cannot be helpful to filmmakers, and more money can be directed towards the production of good conservative movies (here, Breitbart and PJM come to mind). In the latter case more funding might be provided for conservative universities such as Hillsdale, Brigham Young, University of Dallas, Wheaton and others. And there are indications that conservative student groups in liberal universities are gaining ground along with a certain panache.

Or, maybe nothing significant for conservatives can be hoped for. Worst case prevails. Accept what cannot be changed. But, please... don't whine. It is unbecoming.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Glenn Beck Phenomenon

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How is one to explain the spectacular rise in popularity of a man, who, until recently, had not attracted inordinate attention with his middling morning talk show (1), a popular but mostly unexceptional tenure on CNN Headline News and guest appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America?   Beck was already well known, to be sure, but his was hardly a household name.  Today it is.
After little more than a year at Fox News, The Glenn Beck Show attracts more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined.  In itself, that would have been amazing, but considering that his program occupies a ‘graveyard’ time-slot for political commentary, (2) it is nothing short of phenomenal.  It is fair to say that Beck now ranks among the very best-known conservative spokesmen in America and has a substantial following abroad.

"Liberty is an Evil Which Government is Intended to Correct"

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In the run-up to the American Civil War there were many bizarre and convoluted exercises in argumentation on both sides of the slavery debate.  The title quotation (1) is a statement by George Fitzhugh of Virginia, who advocated for socialism and asserted that not only blacks (certainly) but also whites should be enslaved.  Slavery was thought to be desirable because persons in that estate were spared the burdens of  independent thought.  It is akin to the parodic notion that there is no more secure environment than a prison cell.